Miso Takes a Licking...
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21-10-2014, 01:18 AM (This post was last modified: 21-10-2014 01:24 AM by Misanthropik.)
Miso Takes a Licking...
I'm gonna be super honest and up-front right now. I'm gonna say a thing that I've never said to anyone outside of my romantic partners/medical acquaintances, and I'm doing it because I want sincere medical advice from anyone who's even remotely qualified.


I have tics. You know the Tourette's people who twitch and squirm and yelp? I'm like them. No, I don't have Tourette's, but I have something that causes (relatively) unctonrollable ticking. I have no idea what it is and I've never been diagnosed with any serious brain disorder (outside of A.D.D), but it's something I've struggled with ever since I can remember.

I remember the very first significant tic that I had. It was a cough. A persistent and semi-involuntary cough that wasn't caused by any blockage of the respiratory system, but by a deeply-seated and inexplicable desire to clear my trachea. Coughing simply for the sake of coughing. Like my diaphragm burned with the desire to be flexed rapidly, and the only thing to satiate it was to cough hard. I remember walking into the kitchen of my parents' home and them asking what was wrong with me; asking if I was sick. I wasn't sick. I just had an overwhelming desire to cough, and I couldn't possibly explain why.

Over the years, my tics have evolved. Their manifestations have changed so many times that I can't even hope to relay all of them to you. Suffice it to say, however, that I've been afflicted with everything from coughing to twitching to moaning to blinking to hard breathing. Any physical action executed with force has been a tic. That seems to be a core motivation to the tics. Wanting to feel that intense force exerted. A cough, or a hard blink, or a deep exhale. It's like it has to reach that peak in order to be satiated.

For a while, my tics were linked closely with what is now a defunct case of OCD. Tics became an obsessive means to an irrational end: breathing out hard in order to "expel the badness from inside of me" when I saw something upsetting (thus ensuring I wouldn't be afflicted by it), or taking a few steps backward while walking so that X did not occur. Even after the irrational, OCD-based fears subsided, the actions remained as tics. I no longer feared X occurring, but I continued the action because my brain wanted that intense release.

For most of my childhood, my parents were aware of this. My mom has always been an emotionally distant woman, and she never understood why her son acted the way he did. And so, she reacted not with motherly concern, but with unsettled apathy. "I don't understand your affliction and it upsets me, so get away from me." This is not just a subjective interpretation on my part; my father has since confirmed this suspicion when I entered adulthood. Mom didn't get it; she feared it, and so she rejected it. As for himself, dad always made it a point of mockery toward me. I guess, in his own fucked-up way, he was trying to bully me out of it, but it did nothing but make me feel like shit over something I couldn't really control. For example, a tic that I once had was looking over my left shoulder obsessively and for no reason. In a short-sighted and insensitive effort to combat this, dad would mock me openly; twitching his head to the side and making stereotypical "retard" noises. He once even put his hand on my left shoulder, extended his index finger and touched my cheek, saying: "I'm gonna build a device that sits on your shoulder, and any time you look to your left, it touches your cheek with a booger."

For a child, this was humiliating. Whether it was mocked in private or in front of company, he didn't care. Any time he caught me twitching or fidgeting, he drew as much attention to it as he could. Meanwhile, mom looked the other way, because she simply wanted it gone.

And so, as the years passed, I learned to gain sufficient control over my own mind to keep such tics out of public view. Today, if you spent even numerous hours with me while watching closely, you'd still be hard-pressed to catch me ticking. I still do it. Almost constantly. But you'd never know it, because I've been so humiliated and degraded by what I can't fully control that I've repressed it. My tics are now limited (almost exclusively) to the unseen.

Currently, the most pressing tic (among a slew of lesser tics) is a forceful expulsion of air from my lungs. It's not just a hard, outward breath, but rather an almost-complete emptying of air from my lungs. An outward breath taken to near-total lung collapse. This occurs at random times, but is most often associated with unpleasant thoughts or views. Seeing a sick or mutilated person on TV, for instance, will cause me to expel the breath from my body; almost as though breathing inward would cause me to inhale the "badness" that I'm seeing and have it infect me. I suppose this is linked - at least in part - to my otherwise absent affliction of OCD; fearing that without the execution of a particular action, I will somehow fall victim to that which I'm fearing.

This would be all well and fine, if not for the fact that it's now harming me physically. At a party recently, I hooked up with a massage therapist, and she agreed to be my personal training client in exchange for massage sessions. (She can afford nothing of monetary value at the moment) During our conversations, I told her that I have a pulled muscle in my abdomen acquired from past carelessness during a workout. She was shocked to hear that after six years, the muscle has still not recovered fully. That is until I confided in her by telling her of my psychological affliction which causes me to expel massive amounts of air from my lungs at certain times; causing significant strain to the abdominal muscles and thus, prolonging the healing of my muscle strain. Each time I watch a particularly disturbing horror film, or read an article on whatever subject happens to unsettle me, my lungs go into expulsion mode, which leads to extensive pain in the abdominal muscle. As a result, my muscular injury has yet to fully heal. I've confined the tic to this one, particular manifestation (fearing what else it might become if I let it loose) and it's become a burden on my anatomy. Even my recent ulcer suffers due to the strain of pushing; causing moderate to intense heartburn during each flare-up of the tic.

Something I've noticed over the years is that my tics are affected (be it positively or negatively) by alcohol consumption. It changes over time because my alcohol intake is not steady, but the drink definitely affects its frequency and intensity. Sometimes, drinking puts my ticking into overdrive. Then, after a while (meaning: multiple days/weeks of steady inebriation), it all starts to even out and my ticking becomes less severe. At the height of my alcoholic streak, the ticking was almost entirely gone. Still present, but not nearly as intense as it once was. Then, each time that I've "quit" drinking, the tics return with a vengeance. I don't now if alcohol helps or not. But I do know that drinking affects the frequency/intensity of the urge.

I've not yet experimented in this regard using marijuana, though I've decided that I'll be changing that very soon.

Ultimately, my point is that ticking sucks, and I want it gone. It hurts. It really, really hurts. It's hurting me physically, and it's hurting me mentally. I've done this shit all my life, and I have no idea why. I don't know what wires are loose or misaligned to cause this misfiring of neurons in my brain. All I know is that this isn't normal, and as a mechanically-minded individual, I want to know which bolt is loose or which wire needs rerouted in order to cause normal and healthy brain function. What's more, I want to know what alcohol does to affect these defects and what can be learned from that.

Does anyone else have any experience with this? Are there medications I can take? If so, what do they do? Do they dull certain parts of the brain (such as my vivid imagination - my pride and joy) in order to deaden the tics? Do they put people in a fog? Do they turn me into a different person? Do they exist at all? Or is psychology even able to grasp what causes these things in the first place?

I don't want to do this anymore. I don't want to twitch and tic. I want to be normal. Please point me to whatever - if anything - can make me so. At the very, very least, I want to understand this. I want to know what it is. Even if it doesn't cure me, that'd be enough.

Through profound pain comes profound knowledge.
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21-10-2014, 05:08 AM
RE: Miso Takes a Licking...
Do you take meds for ADD? I've heard that can cause tics. Watched a documentary on it once.

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21-10-2014, 10:44 AM
RE: Miso Takes a Licking...
I don't remember when and where I heard this, I think it was some documentary.

There are psychologists who have been successful in curing or minimizing tics by teaching how to substitute other behaviors. No drugs involved, just learning how to substitute by inserting brief periods of concentration.

I don't know much about it, you should research it. It was presented as state of the art treatment for Tourettes, so it may not be widely available.

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21-10-2014, 11:22 AM
RE: Miso Takes a Licking...
Some meds will give tics as a side effect, muscle spasms, etc. Lexapro used to make me clench into a ball, jaw clenched, toes curled, sit curled up in a tight ball while watching tv. Some meds can just affect some people in weird ways.


But really, I think you need a psychiatrist to sort it out, find out if there is something physiological going on, look at the meds you are taking and your other behaviors (amount of drinking, etc) and start there. You might end up in a behavioral therapy program (like Dom suggested- training yourself to replace tics with something acceptable) but I would start with the person with the MD behind their name first.


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21-10-2014, 12:54 PM
RE: Miso Takes a Licking...
Hug

Wish I could help more Miso.


But as if to knock me down, reality came around
And without so much as a mere touch, cut me into little pieces

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21-10-2014, 01:48 PM
RE: Miso Takes a Licking...
(21-10-2014 05:08 AM)Colourcraze Wrote:  Do you take meds for ADD? I've heard that can cause tics. Watched a documentary on it once.

I don't, no. I took Ritalin when I was in 3d grade, but I didn't like how it made me feel, so they took me off of it. I can only describe it as a drug that made my brain light up with blinding light and buzz with a horrific electrical sound. (Not literally, of course, but that's how it felt)

Then again, it's the poor man's Speed, so...lol

Now I don't take any daily medications at all, save for antacids I'm taking for my ulcer. Other than the occasional ibuprofen or allergy pill over the last 15 years, I've been completely clean.

Through profound pain comes profound knowledge.
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21-10-2014, 03:13 PM
RE: Miso Takes a Licking...
I used to suffer from tics when I was a child. Or nervous twitches as my mum called them. I still have a propensity towards them if I think about it, like with this thread. Other people have them as well I have noticed. Like humming periodically, rolling the eyes, twitching my neck etc. They wern't ever as bad as yours but they would be enough to make me a target.

It gets worse when I'm tired or stressed, or when I go to bed after a stressful day. I have a theory about this. When you are permanently stressed you find that your capacity to cope with the small stressors that you encounter is greatly diminished and you feel permanently on-edge. I wonder if this results in a generally greater base line activity in neurons which makes then more likely to fire on a regular basis. Neurons fire trains of spikes and the more excited they are the faster the spikes are fired to other neurons. So perhaps if you are permanently stressed the neurons responsible for causing the tics are constantly firing?

This especially makes sense for automatic involuntarily movements in times of great emotion. For example I used to have the urge to expell stuff from my lips as if something horrible was covering them. You talk about expelling air in your lungs when watching something disturbing on TV such as sickness. Like if you had breathed in some infected air?

I think the connection from the part of the brain tasked with keeping a control over these involuntary movements isn't strong enough. Which is probably why you have learnt to control it over the years but the problem still comes back when you have been drinking / tired, are stressed or emotional. It's the same with phobias.

You say that your parents tried bullying the tics out of you. This would be stressful because you have no control over your tics. Stress comes from a lack of control. You also mention seeing disturbing images triggering the tic reaction. This would add to your stress. I guess that alcohol might make it initially worse because it inhibits the evolutionarily newer parts of your brain earlier than your older parts. So this might result in you losing a certain degree of control in stopping the tics.

Personally I started suffering from tics when I changed schools at the age of 8 and started to get bullied. It would be literally the entire class physically beating me up. I never ever truly felt physically safe at school afterwards but as I learnt to stop myself getting bullied over the years the tics became less of a problem.

So unfortunately I can't really offer much advice. The only thing I can really suggest is to change your life so that you aren't permanently feeling on-edge or stressed, where you are able to relax (or learn how to relax) and be happy.


By the way, I did discover one technique when it got really bad and I just needed a break. It's hard to describe but I would consciously imagine going through with the tic even down to imagining what it would feel like to do it, but at the last moment avoid doing it. It's like my brain went through the process of performing the tic except for the bit that sent the signals to the muscles. It required a lot of concentration though but it gave me back some control.
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21-10-2014, 05:53 PM
RE: Miso Takes a Licking...
If you go to your doc for tests ask him about ruling out epilepsy.

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21-10-2014, 10:19 PM
RE: Miso Takes a Licking...
(21-10-2014 05:53 PM)bemore Wrote:  If you go to your doc for tests ask him about ruling out epilepsy.

Epilepsy

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(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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21-10-2014, 10:54 PM
RE: Miso Takes a Licking...
(21-10-2014 01:48 PM)Misanthropik Wrote:  
(21-10-2014 05:08 AM)Colourcraze Wrote:  Do you take meds for ADD? I've heard that can cause tics. Watched a documentary on it once.

I don't, no. I took Ritalin when I was in 3d grade, but I didn't like how it made me feel, so they took me off of it. I can only describe it as a drug that made my brain light up with blinding light and buzz with a horrific electrical sound. (Not literally, of course, but that's how it felt)

Then again, it's the poor man's Speed, so...lol

Now I don't take any daily medications at all, save for antacids I'm taking for my ulcer. Other than the occasional ibuprofen or allergy pill over the last 15 years, I've been completely clean.

Whelp, there goes my theory! I guess you need to see a real doctor. Tongue

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